True Story: Tips from an insomniac who learned to sleep

    We’ve talked about how your home affects your sleep and overall health before but it’s always been in the abstract. Do our tips actually work? I thought it might be helpful to take a break from our regular home-type posts and talk about something that has improved my life. Hello, I am a lifelong insomniac who, until the last year, lived on an average of 5 hours of sleep a night, often less. I felt fine, because I was so used to being tired I didn’t even know what it felt like to be rested. Now I am averaging 8 hours a night and I feel a million percent better. Be like me. Follow my tips below for your best nights rest of your life.

    1. Create a bedroom oasis. How annoying is it when science and doctors are actually right that changing your sleep atmosphere can totally improve your sleep? I would say this is what has had the most positive impact on my sleep patterns, and luckily it is shockingly easy and cost me under $100. Here is what I did:
      • Got rid of the bedroom tv: I used to turn the tv on every night after I got in bed as “background noise”. The problem is that even if it was a rerun I had seen a million times, I would still end up getting sucked in and having to finish the episode before going to bed. I’d then get sucked into the next episode. See where this is going? Take away the tv and this isn no longer a problem.
      • Put up blackout blinds: I wish I could say that I splurged on the fancy automated ones that go up each morning (someday!) but I just ordered these paper blackout blinds from amazon and they work perfectly. Not the prettiest but you can’t see them and I don’t spend a ton of time in my room anyway because I only use it for sleep. 
      • Got a fancy sound machine. I use this one. It’s ironic that I was willing to spend $50 on a white noise machine and have $5 paper blinds in my window, but I have no regrets. I am a thrifty person so if I am willing to drop $50 on a sound machine, you know it’s worth it. I even bring it with me when I travel.
    2. Use the 4-7-8 sleep method. I read about this on Byrdie years ago when I was still struggling on the insomnia train. You breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds, hold your breathe for 7 seconds, then breathe out through your mouth for 8 seconds. That article makes it seem like it is an instant fix, which it wasn’t for me, but it has absolutely made me more mindful and able to slow myself down when I can’t fall asleep.
    3. Get up if you can’t sleep. This works, but it is hard to do when you are exhausted and all you want to do it sleep. But if I get up and move to the couch with a book I almost always fall immediately to sleep. If not, I read for 30 minutes then go back upstairs and try again. Something about changing the setting makes me less stressed about not being able to sleep, and therefore able to pass right out on the next try.

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    Kyle Barber

    Kyle is passionate writer, independant thinker, and digital savvy lady with a deep love of marketing and all the challenges it presents.

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